212 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
When it comes to favorite burgers, Everybody Gots One. If you don’t, please check out any of the selections in our “Burger Rank” to the right of this post –> For my business colleague and friend Mark, it’s The Brooklyn Diner. While working in the building next door for years, Mark developed a love for their burger. Since relocating his business practices to NJ, Mark has been craving their cheeseburger and constantly trying to take me there to join him. Finally a date popped up where our scheduling planets aligned and we were off for a lunch with my co-workers, Adam and Jackie.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Diner, also known as The Finer Diner, strives to serve a mix of classic American ethnics foods found throughout Brooklyn. The menu is a celebration of foods that have helped to shape it’s rich history and cultural diversity. They take the diner concept, a collection of food, styles and cuisines and step it up a notch with a “best of” filter. I.E, they don’t just serve a hot dog, they serve a hot dog, at the Brooklyn Diner it’s a “15 Bite Brooklyn Diner ‘All Beef’ Hot Dog.” Some may call it extremely but I think the Brooklyn Diner sees it more as “quality.” Another example; their market salad. It’s not just any old bowl of lettuce, this literal cornucopia has 18 different Vegetables!! The Brooklyn Diner strives to sever every day diner items but done better than the rest.
While your seated at your table, be sure to check out the array of gold name plates nailed up around the place. Your bound to see a list of past and present NY who’s who’s. Our booth in particular had been marked with Nathan Lane, Conan O’Brian and Sydney Pollack. Chances are good, you’ll catch someone famous diner there. I once relieved myself in the bathroom while standing next to Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant while dining there. (Note to readers: Robert Plant does not wash his hands after taking a wee.)
The Brooklyn Diner Cheeseburger, which only comes deluxe, is made from prime ground beef and topped with Vermont cheddar cheese, hickory smoked bacon, frizzled onion rings & french fried potatoes on the side. They set the bar pretty high by plainly stating right on the menu -“Best Burger in New York – NY Magazine.” Mark is no stranger to the Burger Conquest so if he said this is his favorite burger, I have to trust he is aware of the scrutiny he and it will be under.
All 4 of us ordered the cheeseburger with only Adam wavering on the possibility of the hot dog but burger curiosity got the best of him. Without much waiting time, the sandwiches arrived with a large pickle and a pile of shoe string fries. The Brooklyn Diner cheeseburger, much like the island of Manhattan, is bigger than you think. It’s a thick-patty pub-style burger served on a soft sesame seed roll. The bacon, cheese and onions are piled on top to create one heaping sandwich. Cooked to a perfect medium-rare, it was juicy, loosely packed and with great flavor. Without a doubt, this is not your average diner burger. In fact, I would say it’s far above average! Kudos to Mark, this is the kind of burger that helps to define the city, much like the diner itself!
While you here, I highly suggest a side of the Shelly’s Baked Macaroni & Cheese. It too is listed as the “Best of New York – NY Magazine.” It’s made from fresh tagliolini pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano & ham and it is quite simply, special. This thick taste sensation has great flavor without being bland or runny, the 2 biggest pitfalls of the dish. The ham adds a nice little taste to cut the difference from all the cheeses.
When you’re done with the burger and mac, be sure to try one of The Brooklyn Diner’s DELICIOUS Rugelach cookies. If you’re really nice, like me, you’ll buy a bunch and bring them back to your office to share with your co-workers!